By now the holidays have come and gone and I’m sure many of us have received some pretty cool beer and booze-related swag. From bottles to flasks to coasters to books, our loved ones are never short on ideas or options for the drinkers in their lives. But in this technology-heavy era, it’s always nice to get something that’s a classic.
One of the gifts my lovely (and tolerant) wife got me was a leather beer journal. I’m sure you can look online and find similar ones but mine came from Stone Brewing Company. Made by Rustico, it’s almost 200 pre-printed pages that allows you to make notes about the brewery, ABV, style, tasting notes and ideas for food pairings. The cover has a cut out that either is for a small pen or pencil or to maybe offer different, more-secure cinching options. And of course, it’s got that awesome new-leather smell!
Though technology allows us to rate our beers and sort them by style, name or any other criteria, there is something very cool about being old school and keeping your thoughts in a leather journal. Just as you send (should send) wedding invitations rather than an e-Vite, entering something into a journal like this lends the beer a certain amount of gravitas. The Modelo you slugged down at your local Mexican joint or that fizzy, pale, adjunct lager you guzzle at the ball game isn’t going to make it into this journal. Why waste the time to write or the limited amount of space? You want to save this book for beers-of-importance, beers made memorable either for rarity (like a Sam Adams Utopias) or significant because of an event (your first Belgian beer consumed in Belgium, something you cracked to celebrate the birth of your first child).
You can save ticking and the manic need to log every sip and taste for your smart phone applications. It actually kinda makes more sense to do it that way. If you’re out beer hunting, you might forget if you enjoyed a particular beer so you can then quickly, easily and accurately call up your drinking database for info. Cool as it is, you’re not going to be carrying this journal with you on your beer runs. But, you can be sure that if you’ve put a beer into this journal, you’re more likely to remember it anyway since you’ve probably had to deliberate whether it was worthy (to paraphrase Stone’s famous motto).
For me, the first entry was Firestone Walker’s Wookey Jack. It’s by no means rare but it was a Christmas gift too. Given that it’s rye-based, I thought I would hate it. That it’s a black style, I thought I would especially hate it (have not liked most of the black IPA, “Cascadian” IPA offerings I’ve come across lately). But, being a Star Wars geek in addition to a being beer geek, I didn’t think that something named ”Wookey” could be all that bad. And, I must say, I was pleasantly surprised! So much so that I will probably get more Wookey Jack in the near future!
If you’re a creative type or just appreciate classic formats, I’d recommend giving it a go. Unplug and put pen to paper. It makes you slow down and think about what you’re going to write. There’s no backspace key and what you put down has some permanence so you kinda feel like you’ve got to make it good and look pretty to boot.
In fact, having this thing is inspiring me to drink through some of the rarities sitting in my beer cellar which is something my wife has wanted me to do anyway. Hey, wait a minute!
Beer blogging? Here’s to beer journaling! Cheers!